Residents view plans for Rock Quarry Road widening, air concerns with median breaks

Georgia Department of Transportation representatives hosted an Open House at Stockbridge Elementary School on Thursday for the public to see plans for the widening of Rock Quarry Road. (Staff Photo: Chelsea Prince)

STOCKBRIDGE— Residents and business owners in the Rock Quarry Road area are generally satisfied with plans to widen the heavily-travelled roadway, though some expressed concern with the proposed medians that will require a U-turn at certain intersections.

The 2.9-mile widening project was designed by Croy Engineering and is aimed to reduce traffic congestion through widening the two-lane road to four lanes. Plans include a 20-foot raised median to divide opposing lanes of travel, which would restrict turning to a limited number of intersections and median breaks.

“I think generally it’s a welcome addition to Rock Quarry. It did need to be widened, the traffic has gotten really bad,” said Windsong Plantation resident Nattalyn Tolbert during Thursday’s Georgia Department of Transportation Open House for the project. “We do have right turn-only out of our community (according to GDOT plans). Our community is large and that’s a convenient exit for us.”

Tolbert added that Rock Quarry’s intersection with the 415-home subdivision, which also has an entry and exit on Country Club Drive, is often “like a parking lot.”

Dan Dorby, who oversees traffic analysis for Croy Engineering, said all right-turn only and median break locations are not finalized.

“This is not set in concrete, pun intended. If there is enough concern — and some of the citizens have explained about the school bus access — some of these locations might be re-thought to have a full median break,” said Dorby. “And that’s the whole idea (of the open house). We’re thrilled that we’re getting the crowd that we’re getting so we can hear all that and make a decision.”

Jerry Strickland, owner of Metro Trim and Glass on Rock Quarry Road also expressed concern with the right-turn only onto Rock Quarry, and the fact that delivery vehicles will have to make a U-turn at the Ga. Highway 42/Rock Quarry intersection.

“The widening’s OK, the median is what they need to discard,” he said. “Tractor-trailers can’t make that U-turn. They could have a turning lane like they do on (Ga.) 42.”

Strickland’s comments were echoed by Charlie Evans, owner of Evans Sand and Gravel, located on Rock Quarry Road across from Nova Circle. Evans said all his vehicles are tandems or tractor-trailers that can’t make a U-turn on Ga. 42 in one swing.

“We’ll have to back up in intersection, all while cars are still trying to turn left,” Evans said.

He referenced that his trucks have run into a similar situation on Moreland Avenue, where he said truck drivers often drive over the median rather than make an unsafe U-turn.

“This isn’t gonna work for us. Can you imagine trying to do that every day?” said Evans.

Dorby said that medians are the safer option and will likely result in a decrease in accidents.

“It definitely makes a difference,” said Dorby.

According to Croy engineers, the Rock Quarry Road corridor has a higher rate of accidents than other comparable Georgia roadways.

“With congestion, and that’s the back-ups, you get the rear-end crashes,” said Dorby. “There is a significant number of those that occur along here. With the extra lane, operations will be smoother, that’s not a very technical term. We should definitely see a decrease in the rear-end crashes along the road.”

The intersection at Hospital Drive meets requirements for a future traffic signal, though it is not officially on the current plan. GDOT plans at some point to conduct a study to make a determination on any future noise barriers.

There will be two lanes in each direction, with a 20-foot raised median, curb and gutter, a 5-foot sidewalk on the west side and a 10-foot multi-use path on the east side. Though the planned path and sidewalks don’t connect to a larger system, Croy engineers said, “it’s projects like these that incentivize future developments.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2022 at the earliest and is expected to be complete within two years.

Public comment on the project will be accepted until April 24 online at dot.ga.gov by searching project number “0015090” or by mailing comments to Eric Duff, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree Street NW, 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308.

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